Soccer's Kia McNeill Credits Team Preparation for Strong Start
Sept. 20, 2007
Senior forward and captain Kia McNeill has tallied one assist in helping lead the Eagles to a 6-0-1 mark this season. The Avon, Conn., resident has scored 23 career goals and has tallied 13 assists thus far in her career at BC. McNeill and the Eagles will host Northeastern on Friday at 3 p.m.
Give us your thoughts on this year's squad and share some of your personal and team goals for the season.
Obviously, the team looks really good. We're 6-0-1 right now. In terms of team goals, we want to win a national championship just like anybody else. It starts with the out of conference games. I think we're doing really well and getting results from these games. Then, hopefully we'll take care of business in the ACC. Personally, it's my last year, so I have to make it my best year for the team. I have to do whatever it takes to help the team on and off the field.
You are one of only two seniors on this year's squad. Talk about the youth of the team and how you plan to lead as a captain.
We've always had a great team and even though we'd like to have more upperclassmen on the team. I feel like everyone has stepped up a notch and taken on a leadership role. I think it's really special that we can have the freshmen come in and fit right in and make an impact right away.
Looking ahead to the ACC schedule, what will be the biggest challenges this season when it comes to facing your ACC foes?
In my opinion, the ACC is probably the strongest women's soccer conference, so I think the biggest thing for us is going to be staying healthy. Every game is a battle and it goes till the 90th minute or sometimes the 110th minute, so just staying healthy is important. I think that we're mentally and physically ready.
How will your experience in ACC play help you/the team this season?
We know what to expect and that every game is a battle. We know you can't take any team lightly in the ACC and that anything can happen on any day. The style of play is very technical and we play the game of soccer very well in the ACC. We're known as a really physical team, which is helpful in the conference. You really do have to be prepared for a very technical and fast game.
The team has had a great start and is climbing in the national rankings. What has been the key to such solid play this year?
It's due to our preparation, our coaches' dedication and commitment to making sure we watch video when we need to, that we're training individually on certain techniques. The commitment of the coaches has been awesome. The commitment from the girls has been on another level this year. I think the standards were set by the coaches and captains and the team has really followed them.
In the game against Syracuse, your team out shot the Orange, 32-6, but the game ended in a 0-0 draw. How will the team work on capitalizing on opportunities?
In the out of conference games we're going to see teams dropping in behind the ball and packing the box. We're just looking to play our game, a possession game, knock the ball around, and try to open up the defense. We'll try to pull them (the opposition's defense) out of shape so we can work our little one-twos in the box and hopefully get a chance to score. It comes down to finishing our opportunities and not waiting for the next one to come along, but capitalizing on the first one.
Team defense has been stellar this season, as only one shot has gotten past goalie Sarah Buonomo. How important has the play of the defense been to the team's success thus far? Can the team really keep up this unbelievably stifling play?
We're a team to watch this year. Even though we're rated highly, we're still kind of underrated to other teams. Our defense has been incredible this season. It's huge because a lot of people thought with the loss of Laura Georges our defense would struggle, but Brianna Wilson-Byrne, a forward for us last year, just switched into the back. Caroline Walden has had some experience back there so she has become our verbal captain in the back. Hannah Cerrone and Kerri McNicholas are really experienced defenders too. I think the success really comes from the communication from the goalie Sarah Buonomo, who has been outstanding this year.
Talk about Sarah Buonomo's job in net and what she means to the team?
She is very important to this team because I think a team is only as good as its goalie. She's the one who sees the whole field, so her attitude and her organization are going to dictate how we're playing. We've been playing really well so it's a tribute to Sarah and our defenders.
What are your plans for after you graduate from BC?
Obviously, I love the game of soccer; I've been playing it since I was five. Ideally, I'd like to stay in the game, whether that's playing professionally abroad or coaching here. I definitely want to stay involved in the game somehow.
Interview conducted by Geoffrey Kehlmann